Military Literature Festival Lucknow…The Women Militants!
The 8th session of the Festival was devoted to two books written about war and conflict by women authors. Easterine Kire, Who is from Nagaland but lives in Norway spoke on ‘Sky is My Father’ - the story of Khunoma village which sustained many attacks from Britishers in the nineteenth century but ultimately had to bow down due to utter destruction by ruthless British forces which out numbered the 8 to 1 in the final battle.
It was the strength derived from the community, love of the land, need for the security of the families the spiritual thinking that the Angami warriors stood their ground for decades. Today, Khunoma is a clean and a thriving ‘ Green’ village with controlled tourism. The spirit and community values remain high.
Famous journalist Rashmi Saksena’s book ‘She Goes To War’ profiles 16 women militants from states of J&K , Assam, Chhattisgarh, Nagaland and Manipur. It gives substantial insight into conflicts from the women point of view. While the women who were recruited into the groups trained and performed at par with the men folks, they do carry a greater value for family and humanitarian needs.
They play a major role in any insurgency. As such they should be part of any negotiations which authorities may undertake. Rashmi highlighted the differences in status of such women in J&K and NE which also drives the role assigned to women militants.
Individual stories of those profiled out of about 100 such women interviewed by Rashmi are poignant and highlight many aspects of the society also. But given the motivation and the training , women can be as good as their counterparts. It’s for the leader to decide how best they are employed.
An enriching session, it was moderated by famous writer Anuja Chauhan And chaired by Maj Gen Hemant Kumar Singh. The Military Festival wiil hold session “War Correspondents” on October 17 at 6.30 pm. It will cover reporting from war zones in 1971 (Bangladesh/East Pakistan ) and in 2001 (Afghanistan).